Austin Lucas Shares Politically-Charged "Already Dead" (premiere)

Photo: Mike Dunn / Courtesy of Pavement PR

Marrying heartland rock with a punk ethos, Austin Lucas charts a new course on his upcoming LP, Alive in the Hot Zone! "They may seek to terrorize us into submission, but they can't stop joy, they can't stop love," he says.

Austin Lucas releases Alive in the Hot Zone! on 30 October via Cornelius Chapel Records. The release will be available on vinyl, CD, and digital streaming outlets. The album was written and recorded as the COVID-19 pandemic and a groundswell of new social change began to emerge via Black Lives Matter and other movements. Perhaps inspired by seeing these ideas find purchase in the political strata, Lucas, who cut his teeth in the punk rock scene, pegs this new effort as a change in direction in his solo career. The ten tracks on Alive in the Hot Zone! provide direct and distinct commentary on the current global climate.

Though penned in a time in which the future appears uncertain and dark political undercurrents are on the rise, he remains hopeful that a shift toward a more positive future, which includes equality and a beating back of fascism on American soil. That is evident in "Already Dead", which is accompanied by a new video. Lucas refers to the track as a "confluence of the Strokes, John Mellencamp and Against Me!" coupled with "heartland rock and indie punk". "In these times, there can be nothing more important than remembering to be our true and most authentically beautiful selves."

He says, "Our world is at the edge of a great changing of paradigms, and it comes to each of us to choose where we will stand. I've chosen an inclusive world of beauty and acceptance, the kind of place where we can all dance to our own beat, without fear of the echoing boot heels of authoritarian, fascist bullies. They may seek to terrorize us into submission, but they can't stop joy, they can't stop love. The right ain't got no rhythm, and it falls to us to dance these bastards out of power."

For the accompanying video, Lucas collaborated with longtime friend J. Sek. "We hashed out ideas together while I was still in the recording studio, so I knew something amazing was coming, just like it always does with him. What he came back to me with, though, was absolutely astounding. It's legitimately the first time that I've ever gotten goosebumps watching one of my videos."

As he has does so often in his career, Lucas demonstrates his lyrical acumen in the track, capturing our dark zeitgeist with unflinching accuracy, marrying it with an anthemic feel that is inspiring despite the harrowing realities it chronicles. It's a reminder that although unity is essential, there is still a distinct line between right and wrong, and Lucas knows which side of the line is the right one to stand on as we move toward a more equitable future.





The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.